Thursday Aug 15, 2013

Meeting the Expectations of Today's Knowledge Workers

(Part 2 of a 2-Part Post)

Guest post: John Klinke, Senior Principal Product Manager, Oracle WebCenter Content 

In my last post, I briefly discussed the expectations that users have today when it comes to user experience, mobile access and application integration. Today, with the latest release of WebCenter Content and Imaging now available, I want to call out the ways that WebCenter helps meet those expectations, and many others.

With the latest version of WebCenter, we've made huge strides in terms of usability, mobile access, automated capture / imaging and of course, application integration. Here are just a few of the new feature highlights that your users are going to love.

Web User Interface

  • A new modern, fast, intuitive web UI that includes user-friendly features like instant search suggestions, favorites, and drag and drop file uploading. The existing native web UI will still be available to support user capabilities like workflows, digital asset management, and records management, but for customers that have basic document management needs, the new UI is far superior in terms of ease of use. 

Mobile Apps

  • Native apps for iPhones, iPads and Android mobile devices. These mobile apps allow users to easily search or browse for files within WebCenter Content, favorite them, share them, and save them locally for offline access.  Once your WebCenter Content environment is upgraded, be sure to download these apps from the Apple iTunes Store or Google Play.

Capture and Distributed Capture

  • A completely re-architected capture solution ported to Java EE providing tighter integration with the Oracle technology stack as well as improved scalability and performance. Customers will now be able to use this unified solution for both capture and distributed capture scenarios with both user and admin UIs being browser-based with cross-browser support.

WebCenter Forms Recognition 

  • Enhancements to the WebCenter Forms Recognition solution including an improved data recognition and extraction engine, Windows 7 support, and localization in 16 languages for the browser-based Verifier.

SharePoint Integration

  • A Microsoft SharePoint Adapter for allowing customers to seamlessly store content from SharePoint in WebCenter Content so it can be easily accessed from other applications like WebCenter Portal, WebCenter Sites (via the new WebCenter Sites connector), E-Business Suite, PeopleSoft, Siebel, JD Edwards, Primavera and Documaker.

Additional Enhancements

  • XDS Support for Healthcare: WebCenter Content now support XDS (a Healthcare industry standards-based spec for sharing of docs across systems). This allows WebCenter Content to act as the document repository for patient electronic health records.
  • Desktop Integration Suite: User experience improvements for Windows Explorer and Microsoft Outlook integrations as well as support for the enterprise libraries in the new Web UI.
  • Records Management: Enhancements to records management batch and dispositions processing to be cluster-aware and distribute records management jobs across nodes in a cluster.
  • Oracle Enterprise Manager Integration: Tighter Integration to allow tracking of metrics for WebCenter Content’s content server and inbound refinery activity and health.

Wednesday Jul 31, 2013

Expectations of Today's Knowledge Workers

It Ain't Easy Being a Knowledge Worker!

Guest post: John Klinke, Senior Principal Product Manager, Oracle WebCenter Content

(Part 1 of a 2-Part Post)

Knowledge workers today have high expectations when it comes to enterprise content management. They want content to be easy to find, easy to share, and at their fingertips whether they are working on their computer, a mobile phone, or a tablet. 

In my product management role at Oracle, I face the same frustrations as other knowledge workers face when it comes to tracking down the latest version of a document, or accessing files while on the road, or getting a large file to my colleague without hitting email file size restrictions. I also see firsthand the potential of being able to re-use content across different applications and streamlining business processes like case management. Like others, there are times when I’ve got too much to do in too little time, and I appreciate any productivity improvement that gives me access to the files I need without hitting a new login screen or having to click five times before getting to a download button.

To bring about these productivity improvements, a successful ECM solution needs to excel in 3 key areas: user experience, mobility, and application integration.  User experience needs to be consumer-grade. An ECM user interface should be fast, intuitive, and designed to address the critical content management use cases around quickly finding, viewing, and sharing files. On the mobility front, an ECM solution must provide engaging mobile applications that are optimized for each mobile device. Knowledge workers on their phone or tablet should be able to quickly locate the files their looking for, easily share them with others, and tag them for offline viewing or later retrieval. For application integration, ECM solutions should give knowledge workers seamless access to files they need in context without placing additional burdens on IT with regards to deployment, maintenance or content governance.

Mortenson Construction Builds Faster with Oracle WebCenter

Learn how Mortenson Construction has used Oracle WebCenter technologies to improve the timely flow of project content to collaborative teams, reduce costly rework and improve customer satisfaction:

Thursday Jul 18, 2013

Saving Money the Hyundai Way

Hyundai Motor Company is a well-known, global brand and is part of a very large, multi-faceted worldwide corporation.  The automotive division as been seeing some very rapid growth and all you have to do is notice how many Hyundai vehicles on the road these days to see proof positive of that.  (Disclosure: I recently joined the ranks of satisfied Hyundai owners - the Santa Fe is quite hard to beat!)  

But with rapid growth often comes growing pains, and Hyundai knew they needed to address infrastructure performance and even more importantly, process and team performance. With thorough planning and analysis, they devised a plan to centralize content management, drastically improve infrastructure performance by using the Oracle Exa platform and take advantage of Oracle integration up and down the software stack.  But perhaps more importantly, they also took a look at the WAY they do business and how their teams inter-operate and share information.

One big area for improvement turned out to be their reliance on paper-based business processes. Using paper for contracts, invoices, internal forms, documentation, operating procedure documents and many other information types was causing important business processes to be sluggish. Critically, information was becoming harder and harder to find as the volume of paper continued to increase. Something had to be done!  

Enter Oracle WebCenter Content and Imaging solutions.  By reducing the number of internal information silos in use, information became easier to locate.  By utilizing imaging and scanning technologies across their distributed office and showroom network they are realizing some very impressive cost reductions. Impressive as in a savings of around $1 Million U.S. Dollars per year!  Below is the quote that Hyundai issued about the savings they are getting: 

"We chose Oracle Exalogic, Oracle Exadata, and Oracle WebCenter Content to support our new document centralization system over their competitors as they offer stable storage for petabytes of data and high processing speeds. We have cut the overall time spent each day on document-related work by around 85%, saved up to US$1.1 million in paper and printing costs, laid the foundation for a smart work environment, and supported our future growth in the competitive car industry," said Kang Tae-jin, manager, General Affairs Team, Hyundai Motor Company.

Take a look around your office. Do you see people handling large amounts of paper as part of their every day jobs?  Is it easy for employees to quickly find the information they need so that fast, proper business decisions can be made? Are workers still copying and printing out paper documents to use as reference materials or to file?  And what happens to all that paper over time?  Is it stored properly and securely? Or do you have a large annual company bonfire every year?  :)

One thing is for sure - there is room for operational improvements no matter the size of your company. To be more competitive, Hyundai has to be as nimble and responsive as they can be.  You know what? It's working. The other metric in all of this is customer satisfaction and I can tell you from personal experience they have been quite impressive.  Yes, I still had to fill out a form when signing up for the lease, but I know it is being scanned, classified, recognized and routed efficiently due to Oracle WebCenter Imaging technology. The speed at which the process moved was very fast, there was no confusion or duplicate content, web access to my personal information and car details was immediately available and the sales, finance and service teams were in lockstep.

If you cannot say the same about how your business operates, we think we can help!

If you would like to see a short, introductory video illustrating the value of WebCenter Imaging, click this link to watch it now. If you would like to learn more about our Imaging solutions, how they work and hear more customer success stories and read up on other details, please visit our WebCenter Imaging solutions pages.

We hope to speak with you soon!

The Oracle WebCenter Team 

Tuesday Jul 16, 2013

Cats, Bacon and the Bottom Line

Recently I came across an Infographic illustrating the popularity of cats and bacon within web searches. The results are somewhat startling and as a marketing professional, it immediately had me wondering about how we could utilize this knowledge here on the Oracle WebCenter team.  

Well, the fact of the matter is that we are almost certainly NOT going to have a cat, bacon or any combination as a mascot or emblem anytime soon, even if it is a cat as cute as mine, seen here loitering in a box. What we are going to do is continue to focus on real business challenges that are vexing our customers today and help them find new ways to save money, increase efficiency and drive increased profitability.

One of the ways Oracle WebCenter is helping customers is via the automation of essential business processes like Accounts Payable invoicing.  While perhaps it is not as exciting as a kitten or a piece of bacon to some people, to those responsible for improving the bottom line, it's extremely important.  In a recent survey, 69% of accounts payable professionals surveyed chose reducing the cost of invoice processing as their top priority as they address the cost of doing business.

If this is important to you, we invite you to learn more about how WebCenter Imaging can automate your invoicing processes and be used across multiple transactional processes to lower costs, reduce errors and radically improve operating efficiency.  Be sure to check out our introductory video on the topic as well as our PDF booklet of customer successes in this area.  We hope we can assist you with the same type of improvements.  At the very least, you'll have more time to do those searches for kittens and bacon!  :)

And OK, after you have researched the ways Oracle WebCenter Imaging can help you run a more profitable business, you might want to see the aforementioned infographic. Given these numbers, you just might want to make your corporate mascot a kitten (or bacon). :)

Source: Marketo, July 2013

Monday Jul 15, 2013

Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale.....

This will not be the tale of a fateful trip or a three-hour tour gone awry.

But it is the all-too-familiar tale of modern organizations that in 2013, are still relying on paper-based business processes. Every time I am asked to "please fax in the form when it is complete", I wonder to myself... what is happening with this information? How will it get entered into whatever transactional system might be in place behind the scenes? Will it have to be re-typed by someone else or is it automatically scanned, intelligently recognized and routed appropriately, based on specific field values on the form?

Sadly, it is often the former scenario that takes place. Somewhere there is a clerk that must re-key in the data and hopefully make zero errors in the process. In the mean time, absolutely nothing else is happening with this business process and the result is hours or even days in unnecessary delays.

When it comes to a common process like Accounts Payable invoicing, these kinds of slow downs introduce a number of problems including late payment penalties, inability to handle growing invoice volumes and of course, the physical storage issue.

OK, so if the issue is so common, why don't more companies do something about it? Often times, organizations don't fully understand the cost savings opportunity in front of them and to some degree, there is the "it's working well enough for now so lets not spend any money on that issue" mentality at work, especially in a world of tight budgets.

More forward looking companies are investing in capture, scanning and imaging technologies that drive down their current costs and deliver a fast return on investment. If you are using Oracle E-Business Suite in conjunction with your AP processes, you really owe it to your self to learn more about how you can improve your existing processes with Oracle WebCenter Imaging Solutions

For starters, check out our recently created screencast on the topic, along with what we call a "Brag Book" that includes several customer stories confirming the real-life benefits of WebCenter Imaging. There are not any pictures of Ginger, Maryann or the Professor, but you will get ideas and insights from other customers about the value of WebCenter Imaging. Even better!  

And now, in the immortal words of Thurston Howell III.... "Quickly Lovey, another Perrier and lime!"

Have a good week everyone....

Friday Jun 21, 2013

Taking a Flying Leap

Yesterday, I went skydiving with three of my children.  It was thrilling, scary, invigorating and exciting. While there is obvious risk involved, the reward and feeling of success was well worth it. You might already be wondering what skydiving would have to with WebCenter, so let me explain.

Implementing a skydiving program and becoming an instructor does not happen overnight.  It does not happen with the purchase of the needed technology. Not one of us would go out, buy a parachute, the harnesses, helmet and all the gear and be able to convince anyone that we are now ready to be a skydiving instructor. The fact is that obtaining the technology is merely a small piece of the overall process and so is the case with managing content in your company. You don't just buy the right software (Oracle WebCenter Content) and go to your boss and declare information management success. There is planning, research and effort that goes into deploying software of any kind and especially when it is as mission-critical to the success of your business as Enterprise Content Management.

To become a certified skydiving instructor takes at least 3 years of commitment and often longer. In the United States, candidates must complete over 500 solo jumps of their own over a minimum of 36 months and then must complete additional rigorous training under observation.  When you consider the amount of time and effort involved, it's not unlike getting a college degree and anyone that has trusted their lives to one of these instructors will no doubt appreciate their dedication to the curriculum.  Implementing an ECM system won't take that long, but it certainly requires commitment, analysis and consideration.

But guess what?  Humans are involved and that means that mistakes can happen and that rules change.  This struck me while reading an excellent post on by Glenn S. Phillips entitled "Mission Impossible: 4 Reasons Compliance is Impossible".  His over-arching point was that with information management and security, environments change and people are involved meaning the work is never done.  He stated that you can never claim your compliance efforts are complete because of the following reasons.

  1. People are involved.  And lets face it, some are more trustworthy than others.
  2. Change is Constant. There is always some new technology coming along that is disruptive. Consumer grade cloud file sharing and sync tools come to mind here.
  3. Compliance is interpreted, not defined.  Laws and the judges that read them are always on the move.
  4. Technology is a tool, not a complete solution. There is no magic pill.

The skydiving analogy holds true here as well.  Ultimately, a single person packs your parachute.  For obvious reasons, you prefer that this person be trustworthy but there are no absolute guarantees of a 100% error-free scenario.  Weather and wind conditions are never a constant and the best-laid plans for a great day of skydiving are easily disrupted by forces outside of your control.  Rules and regulations vary by location and may be updated at any time and as I mentioned early on, even the best technology on its own will only get you started.

The good news is that, like skydiving, with the right technology, the right planning, the right team and a proper understanding of the rules and regulations that govern your industry, your ECM deployment can be a great success.  Failure to plan for any of the 4 factors that Glenn outlined in his article will certainly put your deployment and maybe even your company at risk, so consider them carefully.

As a final aside, for those of you who consider skydiving an incredibly dangerous and risky pastime, consider this comparative statistic.  In 2012, the U.S. Parachute Association recorded 19 fatal skydiving accidents in the U.S. out of roughly 3.1 million jumps.  That’s 0.006 fatalities per 1,000 jumps. By comparison, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that there were 34,080 deaths due to car accidents in 2012.  Based on the percentages, one could argue that it is safer to jump out of a plane than to drive to the airport where the skydiving will take place.

While the way you manage, secure, classify, control, retain and dispose of company files may not carry as much risk as driving or skydiving, it certainly carries risk for the organization when not planned and deployed appropriately.  Consider all the factors involved in your organization as you make your content management plans.  For additional areas of consideration, be sure to download our free whitepaper on the topic entitled "The Top 10 Criteria for Choosing an ECM System" which is available for download here.

Monday Jun 17, 2013

Content. What's it good for?

If you walked down the halls of your office and observed your colleagues, or talked to your friends over lunch about what they are working on, chances are good that they are using a lot of different files, documents and images throughout the course of their day, depending upon what their jobs are.  

This in itself is not surprising. Of course the HR person is dealing with resumes that are DOC or PDF files, the Accounts Payable person is dealing with invoices that were scanned or faxed in as TIFF images and the graphic designer spends most of her day dealing with Illustrator files.  But when you ask these same people where they store and keep this information, you are likely to hear about all sorts of locations, some familiar and some unknown.  The designer might be storing Illustrator files on an external hard drive connected to her Mac or in her own digital asset library.  Those HR docs are going into a SharePoint library that replaced the old network file store they used to use and those invoices are stored in the ERP system used to pay vendors  - an Oracle system, no doubt!  :) .

The problem is that Content is everywhere and for most companies, not well coordinated or managed.  If you asked any one of these people, they would likely say their current system is just fine for them.  Why?  Because they know where it is stored and they have become very familiar with their particular storage system. When they need something, they know where to look, even before they have details of the file name, account or vendor name, etc.

This is great until those people with this knowledge leave the company or are hit by a bus.  Now what?  Where is that valuable content that you are now being urgently asked for?  Are you sure you know?  And what about using that same information across departments or within other business systems? When companies have information stored across locations, repositories or even scattered within the cloud, the opportunity to lose information grows along with the number of locations in use.  

Our mission here on the Oracle WebCenter team is to help companies do more with the information they have and optimize the way users, customers and partners directly engage with that  information.  The next few blog posts will deal with Content @ Work.  We will focus on how to make the most of it, how to optimize the way it is stored to lower costs and how to make it easier to find what is needed - no matter who is looking for it.  

We hope you find it informative and we thank you for subscribing to the WebCenter Blog!

Wednesday May 15, 2013

Learning from our customers: Mortenson Construction

Today, Thursday May 16th at 1pm Eastern, 10am Pacific, we will be broadcasting a new webcast featuring a WebCenter customer, Mortenson Construction.  I hope you can take the time to join us, either live or later on by viewing it on-demand.  Many of know the benefits of enterprise content management (ECM) but they have taken it to another level by making sure that every person involved in a construction project has immediate access to the info they need.

OK, so some of you may be saying, isn't that what ECM is all about?  Immediate access to the right content in order to make the right business decisions.  Well, yes, ideally but I suspect we all know scenarios where that is not necessarily the case.  For businesses that do not take the time to incorporate a centralized approach to content management and dissemination, ECM can become a great place to hide information, not use it effectively.

Mortenson Construction has done a great job of making sure that project owners, managers, designers, architects, trade partners and finance teams all have secure access into the project information they need.  And best of all, they can do it from anywhere, on mobile devices, even on the job site itself.  Most of us are not in the construction industry but we have seen projects underway.  

You've probably seen the trailers that are placed on the job site so that managers, foreman and various craft workers can meet and discuss the latest design specifications and resolve problems as they arise. But what about the work team on the 16th floor of the high-rise being built?  Do they have to take an extended break every time there is an issue to resolve and make their way back to the trailer to discuss it? Not if they work at Mortenson!  They have a portable "Field Box" that is effectively a small office in a steel container. It can be moved anywhere by crane and be immediately online with access to every bit of project information.

Mortenson calls this "Project Connect" and it is a great example of how a company can take the power of content that must be securely managed within an ECM system to meet information governance and compliance requirements and get it to every one that needs it... anywhere!

We hope you will join the webcast tomorrow and hear directly from the team at Mortenson Construction about the benefits that they are realizing by using WebCenter Content as their ECM system.  Maybe you can realize some of those benefits too!

Click this link to join us and register to watch this informative webcast. 

Wednesday Apr 17, 2013

7 Ways to use Content to make your Business Healthier!

Join us on Thursday, April 18th at 1pm Eastern, 10am Pacific to learn about the 7 ways Content and the proper use of ECM can help improve the overall health of your business. We hope to see you then! 

Monday Apr 15, 2013

Getting past Heartbreak Hill

UPDATE:  We're horrified to hear of the bombings that occurred today at the Boston Marathon.  Our thoughts and prayers are with the injured on Boylston Street today. 

Here in Boston, today is the day of the Boston Marathon.  One of the most difficult sections of the marathon course is a section called "Heartbreak Hill".  It begins about 20 miles into the race and while the ascent is only about 88 feet, it comes in the portion of a marathon distance where muscle glycogen stores are most likely to be depleted—a phenomenon referred to by marathoners as "hitting the wall."

When it comes to content management and how each of our organizations manage information, a lot of organizations have also hit the proverbial wall.  Information growth continues exponentially year after year and it can sometime seem as if there is nothing you can do about it besides throw more storage devices at the problem and hope that somehow the problem goes away.

Of course, we all know that the problems related to the growth of information are not going to go away.  We have to face them in order to make it easier for our fellow employees to find the content they need quickly, to facilitate more efficient business processes, reduce our exposure to risk and yes, reduce our storage infrastructure costs through archiving and disposition. 

What will you and your company do to push through the wall and overcome the business challenges created by the unchecked growth of business content?  To help you think about new ways to overcome your business challenges with better content management, we are having a webcast on the topic that we think you will find useful.  

Please join us on Thursday, April 18th at 1pm ET, 10am PT to learn about the Seven Ways Content Can Improve the Health of Your Business.    We will see you there!

Monday Mar 25, 2013

Waiting on the paperwork...

Last Friday evening, I boarded a connecting flight as I made my way home across the country.  Tired yet relieved to be going home after working at an Oracle-sponsored industry event, I got on board and watched as every last bit of seating and storage space was consumed by fellow travelers.  We were then notified that the plane had a maintenance issue that was being investigated and within seconds, many of us on the plane were automatically notified of the new estimated departure time on our smartphones.  In terms of customer communication, so far so good!  The airline (who will remain unnamed) was informing customers promptly about an unforeseen issue and the customers responded by settling in with whatever reading material they had.

Within a half hour, we were notified that the problem was resolved.  But then, those dreaded words came across the PA system from the Captain. "We are ready to go, but we are waiting on the paper work."

Now the crowd emitted an audible groan.  Why is that?  In my case, when someone tells me that they are "waiting on the paper work", I immediately have an image of a slow, tedious, bureaucratic process requiring a manual approval.  Sure enough, we waited for quite a while as our now perfectly operational aircraft was held on the ground...  by paper.

What struck me as I loitered on the plane with my fellow passengers that night is that there are still, surprisingly, many business processes that rely on physical paper and manual signatures.  It's easy to think in this day and age that everything is now automated.  We live in a world of notifications and alerts, automatic updates, text messages, social collaboration and news feeds.  Yet at the same time, there are a myriad of areas in our personal and professional lives that rely on paper and pen.

In the case of airplane maintenance, procedures must be followed and documented.  There are industry and government mandated regulations that outline exactly how maintenance repairs are performed and formal records must be kept of every repair done on each plane for safety and legal reasons.  And yet with automated imaging, scanning and forms recognition solutions such as those available with Oracle WebCenter, these approved forms could be routed much faster. Management of the records and associated documents would also be more efficient and less prone to human error and possible loss or damage to the paper documents.

If there is room for improvement in business processes that directly impact customers at one of the world's largest airlines, what about your business?  Are you still relying on paper forms and documents in critical or regulated business processes?  How does this effect the customer experience you provide?

Oracle WebCenter provides a plethora of solutions for businesses looking to improve the customer experience. From Self-Service Portals to targeted Web Experience Management to Enterprise Content Management and yes, even Automated Imaging solutions that help you eliminate paper from your processes.  As a reader of this blog, we hope we have already helped you solve some of your business challenges and we look forward to helping you address more in the future as you strive to continuously improve.  Thank you for joining us!

Friday Mar 15, 2013

Making a Real Impact on Your Bottom Line

This week, we've been focusing on how your business can realize significant cost savings by implementing automated capture and imaging solutions within your existing processes.  If you haven't already seen the screencast overview that illustrates the benefits of doing so, please take a look and share it with your colleagues at work.  We think it will be 7 minutes of your time well spent.

To further peak your interest, today we want to highlight a couple of recent customer examples from those that have already started using Oracle WebCenter Content and Imaging solutions along with their e-business processes.  The first customer that we will take note of is Texas Industries, or TXI.  As a mid-size company that is a leading supplier of cement, aggregate and consumer product building materials, TXI is very decentralized with 100 plants across 5 states.  Manual processing in many locations was proving very costly, to say nothing of the costs associated with managing, shipping and tracking of invoices and related documents. 

After implementing Oracle WebCenter Imaging, they have reduced the number of invoices that have to be manually verified by over 25%, reduced their invoice cycle time from around 30 days to less than 5 and reduced their shipping and storage costs by 50%.  Significant savings that helped TXI realize a fast return on their investment and fund further innovation.

Another company worth noting is Development Dimensions International, or DDI.  As a leading provider of Talent Management and Learning Systems, DDI works with thousands of customers and individual clients.  Enhancing back-end processes while securing sensitive content in a compliant fashion has paid immediate dividends.  Since implementing Oracle WebCenter Content and Imaging solutions in conjunction with their Oracle E-Business Suite, DDI has seen an 80% reduction in the costs associated with technical support and service and reduced reliance on manual, paper-driven processes has helped them save 20% on storage and management costs.

With today’s budgets and expectation to be as efficient as possible, it behooves any size company that relies on back-end e-business systems to evaluate how those processes run today and what can be done to make them more cost-effective.  Oracle WebCenter Content and Imaging solutions offer a powerful way to quickly realize cost savings be enhancing the systems you already rely on to keep your business running.

We hope you find this information informative as you look to improve the way your organization handles internal and external business processes. Thanks for visiting our blog and we hope to see you again soon!

Engage with Us

Thursday Mar 14, 2013

Show Me the Savings! The Value of Radically Cutting Internal e-Biz Processing Costs

Lately a lot has been written about the opportunity available to companies that can take advantage of dynamic discounting when dealing with partners and suppliers.  But how can you get your organization to the point where you can also take advantage?  It can seem daunting but if you already are using Oracle e-business suite, PeopleSoft Enterprise, JD Edwards or Siebel CRM, you are already halfway there!

Simply put, dynamic discounting allows you to negotiate favorable pricing when you have the ability to pay your suppliers very quickly.  Initially it might seem counter-intuitive that you can improve cash flow by paying suppliers early, but the numbers tell the story.   For example, if you can negotiate a 2% discount with your suppliers by promising to pay them in 10 days instead of the traditional 30, the return on capital is 2% in 20 days, or 36% annually.  That kind of return is certainly more than the interest earned by delaying your payments.

That's all fine and nice if you can actually guarantee quick payments with confidence.  But for many companies, the processing of documents, faxes, scanned images and other content is not anywhere near as efficient as their transactional processes.  WebCenter Content and Imaging solutions fill that gap and provide the automated capture, scanning and intelligent routing needed to accelerate invoice processing along with lots of other internal processes.

This week, we posted a new screencast that quickly illustrates how processes can be improved using WebCenter Imaging from Oracle.  You can view it here.  We believe you will find it insightful and that you can use it to get your company thinking about ways to further automate systems that can make a real impact on the bottom line.  For further details, please be sure to view one of our recent webcasts on how to optimize your e-business systems.

Engage with Us

Tuesday Mar 12, 2013

WebCenter Customer Spotlight: DDI

Author: Peter Reiser - Social Business Evangelist, Oracle WebCenter

 Solution Summary

Development Dimensions International, Inc. (DDI) has been helping hundreds of organizations around the world―including half of the Fortune 500 companies―close the gap between where their businesses need to go and the talent they must have to take them there. With associates in 42 offices in 26 countries, the company’s expertise includes designing and implementing employee selection systems and identifying and developing talent, from front-line workers to executive leadership.

As DDI continued to grow, it experienced escalating costs associated with searching, storing, and recreating critical, expense-related documents for its operations around the globe.

They  implemented Oracle Internet Expenses and integrated  a new document-capture solution based on Oracle WebCenter Imaging,  that enabled the company to overcome the limitations of its legacy system with an open, enterprise architecture that facilitates a flexible deployment.

DDI cut administrative costs associated with managing paper-based transactions, as well as operational costs associated with photocopying, faxing, and couriering documents and decreased its physical storage requirements & costs.  DDI estimates that it is saving the equivalent of one full-time staff member in IT management.  In addition, the company gained the ability to track, access, and manage information more efficiently to assist with regulatory compliance related to information protection and privacy.

Company Overview

Since 1970, Development Dimensions International, Inc. (DDI) has been helping hundreds of organizations around the world―including half of the Fortune 500 companies―close the gap between where their businesses need to go and the talent they must have to take them there. With associates in 42 offices in 26 countries, the company’s expertise includes designing and implementing employee selection systems and identifying and developing talent, from front-line workers to executive leadership.

Business Challenges

The company previously used a third-party system to manage employee expenses, a solution that was extremely complex to maintain, as it was not built on a standards-based architecture.  As DDI continued to grow, it experienced escalating costs associated with searching, storing, and recreating critical, expense-related documents for its operations around the globe. Every year, employees spent thousands of hours and the company expended significant financial resources distributing client-billable expense receipts across several departments globally. This largely manual system delayed employee reimbursement and client billing and prohibited the rollout of shared services centers, designed to elevate efficiency and customer service.

To address these challenges, DDI defined following business objectives:

  • Advance DDI’s global, shared services strategy to help it to reduce costs, improve administrative efficiency, and expand its ability to deliver world-class talent acquisition and development services
  • Enable the company to more efficiently capture and process employee expenses, eliminating manual processes and accelerating reimbursement, as well as customer billing
  • Reduce IT complexity and management costs by eliminating custom integrations between the company’s business-critical applications and systems
Solution Deployed

DDI implemented Oracle Internet Expenses to accelerate expense report submission, approval, processing, and payment, and control expenses with flexible audit tools. The solution automated the approval workflow and accelerated and ensured accurate expense attribution in client invoices.
At the same time, DDI implemented  a new document-capture solution. It deployed Oracle WebCenter Imaging, a solution that enabled the company to overcome the limitations of its legacy system with an open, enterprise architecture that facilitates a flexible deployment. As part of the rollout, it integrated Oracle WebCenter Imaging with Oracle Internet Expenses. Oracle WebCenter Imaging operates as an infrastructure-supporting solution, as opposed to an application unto itself—so the company can leverage it as a shared service that extends wherever imaging is required throughout the enterprise. 

Business Results
DDI cut administrative costs associated with managing paper-based transactions, as well as operational costs associated with photocopying, faxing, and couriering documents. Further, the company decreased its physical storage requirements and costs.  DDI estimates that it is saving the equivalent of one full-time staff member in IT management. The team can now apply time it previously spent managing and maintaining custom interfaces to more strategic initiatives. In addition, the company gained the ability to track, access, and manage information more efficiently to assist with regulatory compliance related to information protection and privacy.

We are very pleased with the way Oracle WebCenter Imaging enabled us to achieve process efficiencies by capturing receipt images up front and making them accessible to managers and other approvers all along the workflow. We also like that we can retrieve images not only from Oracle Internet Expenses, but also from Oracle Payables, as well as within Oracle WebCenter Imaging itself.

Mike Fieldhammer, Corporate Controller, Development Dimensions International

Additional Information

Monday Mar 11, 2013

The Attractiveness of Automated Capture, Scanning and Imaging for Your E-Business Applications

Ok, let's face it.  When we bring up a topic like automated capture, scanning and imaging, it might not make your heart flutter.  And when we see a blog post about automating processes like Accounts Payable Invoice Processing, I doubt your pulse quickens.  But maybe it should!  Let me explain...

Today, we have posted a new "screencast" that walks you through a short before and after scenario showcasing how the use of Oracle WebCenter Imaging can slash the costs associated with AP invoicing.  It's about 7 minutes long and the perfect thing to watch before you head off to your next meeting.  While many companies use Oracle E-Business Suite, PeopleSoft Enterprise or JD Edwards to optimize how business transactions are handled, the handling and management of associated documents and other files are often disconnected.  Fixing this problem and driving further efficiencies is certainly a great way to become bit more popular around the office.

Here's how.  Many companies are still relying on paper forms, faxes, letters, scanned images and digital content as key elements within business processes.  These items should ideally be easily referenced, stored and managed within the scope of the process, but when it is a piece of paper or a fax, that can get very tricky.  That invoice might be in a stack of papers on a specialist’s desk over at headquarters.  Or maybe that fax with the new contract terms got routed to a clerk’s e-mail but he is on vacation for the next 10 days.  You get the picture; the information is in the company...somewhere.   But when paper or disconnected and unmanaged files are involved, everything becomes a manual process which of course means it is error prone, slow and likely under a poor level of governance.

That's where Oracle WebCenter Imaging Solutions come in.  With native integrations for Oracle E-Business applications, you can automate the capture of documents, images and forms and automatically detect the type of form or document, retrieve line item information right off the document and route it into the appropriate process.  And that is where the appeal comes in.  When you bring in WebCenter and start improving first one, and then multiple processes, you will start seeing immediate results that drive significant cost savings.  Having that sort of vision and eye for strategic business improvement drives recognition and visibility within any company.  And who knows what might happen next with your newfound recognition?  Perhaps your boss sees your value and gives you that big salary increase you now so clearly deserve.  Upper management hears about the difference you are making in your part of the organization and invites you to present your ideas at the next leadership meeting.  The next thing you know you are having cocktails with the CEO's daughter on the porch of their summer house in St. Tropez. 

Admittedly, your scenario might be somewhat different from this one but when it comes to making significant improvements to the company’s bottom line by optimizing back-end processes like AP Invoicing, the results are proven and tangible.  Learning more about how your organization can save money and be more efficient is certainly time well-spent, and just might pay some personal dividends.  Check out the screencast to learn more and check back on this blog throughout the week for more information.  You may not end up in St. Tropez, but no matter where you work, being smart and saving money is always sexy.

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Oracle WebCenter is the center of engagement for business—powering exceptional experiences for customers, partners, and employees. It connects people, process, and information with the most complete portfolio of portal, Web experience management, content, imaging and collaboration technologies.


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